I originally wrote and posted this in May 2017, when my son graduated from high school. I let this blog lapse and hadn’t decided to what to do with all my writings, but saved it nonetheless. I loved this moment and I know that I am not alone in the sense of loss that comes when our children fly out of the nest to test their own wings. I am re-posting it because it was a beautiful moment that I want to hold close to my heart. Since writing this, I’ve made some big life changes: quit my job, sold my house and moved to Boulder, CO. It is so much fun to look back at this moment in time and remember how I felt then, and to see how far I have come since.
A few days ago, my son, who turned 18 one day earlier, walked across a stage and received his diploma. Well, he actually received an empty book that will soon hold his diploma, but still, it was a symbolically epic event in the life of this Mom. Family and friends gathered from all over this state and others to celebrate his accomplishment with him. If you know anyone with adult-ish teens, you have no doubt witnessed this event over and over on your Facebook or Instagram feeds. You might even be tempted to become a bit blasé about the whole thing, especially if it wasn’t your kid. Fair enough.
However, the reason I am sharing this moment with you, has more to do with a different type of graduation that does not involve my son’s. It involves my own graduation from full-time helper, reminderer (read: nag) of daily chores and overall parental pain in the ass, to the girl who is more than the offspring she birthed 18 years ago. It is funny how when you become a parent, it is as if all the rest of life is eclipsed and you get this laser point focus on the one you helped create. They cough, they get that look, they have a bad day, they have a good day, they struggle, they shine. It is so fucking easy to lose ourselves in them. And then, just like that, they are gone.
Even if they are still near, they are gone because they are no longer that little person who needed us so much. They have an entirely new path to follow or forge, and if you did your job, they will have the skills to leave you and do just that. That is where we have to walk across the stage of our own hopes and dreams, you know, the ones that we set aside, willingly or not, pick them up and see which ones we still want to carry. The things that mattered back then may no longer be relevant to the person we have become, but we still have to decide.
So much of the past 18 years have been about growing up; not just his, but my own as well. I told my son recently, that I feel like we grew up together. As a single Mom for 15 of his 18 years, that is more true than either of us ever admitted. I got divorced, and I had to reinvent myself. Unlike a lot of single Moms, I followed my dreams as I guided him to his. I pursued my interests in Feng Shui, in yoga and teaching it, as well as gardening, dancing, cooking etc. I even dropped everything and moved us to a new city just because I had always wanted to live there, and we needed to escape the concrete wilderness of Houston. I already had my mid-life crisis, and so here I sit, wondering what is next. It is a little scary, because I can’t blame anyone else for my distractions now. If I don’t get shit done, it’s all on me.
So if you see me floundering a bit, just know that I am sorting through some of my unfocused hopes and dreams, reshaping the ones that still matter, and searching for my own next right path. I’ll figure it out. I always do. I just need a minute . . . .